Employee Benefits, ESOPs & Executive Compensation Law

Appeals Court Ruling Raises Pension Liability Issues for Private Equity Funds

February 5, 2014, 11:32 AM

After years of threats from Congress and tax-reform advocates, private equity fund sponsors have been dealt a potential setback from an unlikely source: The federal 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. The courts recent decision in Sun Capital Partners III, L.P. v. New England Teamsters could make private equity funds liable for their portfolio companies underfunded pension obligations, a potentially massive liability in some transactions that will require careful pre-closing structuring to sidestep. The ruling has also rekindled the debate over the tax treatment of fund sponsors profits, which relies on investor status to achieve favorable capital gains rates on their earnings.

IRS Scrutinizing Private, Tax-Exempt 457(b) Plans

September 17, 2013, 10:34 PM

Between now and next September, hundreds of tax-exempt, non-governmental plan sponsors around the country will start receiving letters about their 457(b) deferred-compensation plans from the IRSs Employee Plans Compliance Unit.

DOL Further Delays New Proposal for Fiduciary Rule

September 12, 2013, 10:23 PM

The Department of Labor announced that it is pushing back the timeframe for its release of the highly anticipated re-proposal for expanding fiduciary responsibilities for advisors who work with retirement plans. A new proposal had been expected to be released early this fall, but DOL representatives stated that nothing will come in October as the DOL continues to revise the proposal in an effort to get the new rule correct rather than released within the previously announced schedule.

IRS Announces Position on Same-Sex Marriages for Federal Tax Purposes

September 5, 2013, 8:31 PM

The Internal Revenue Service released new guidance regarding the tax status of same-sex marriages after the U.S. Supreme Courts recent decision striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, that limited spouses and marriages to opposite-sex couples for federal tax purposes.

Supreme Courts ObamaCare Ruling and Employer Group Health Plans

July 5, 2012, 10:39 AM

In a surprise ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld all material provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the ACA), including the controversial individual mandate that requires taxpayers to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty tax starting in 2014. With much of the uncertainty about the future prospects of the law now lifted, employers should prepare for compliance with upcoming ACA requirements.

Asset Protection - Part 1

May 4, 2012, 3:22 PM

How safe are the assets in your retirement account? Imagine the following scenarios:

Final Deadline for 401(k) Fee Disclosures: August 30, 2012

February 20, 2012, 3:01 PM

The Department of Labor has postponed the date that 401(k) plan sponsors must comply with new fee disclosure rules from May 31, 2012 to August 30, 2012. These rules, introduced in final regulations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Section 408(b)(2), require sponsors of participant-directed account plans such as 401(k) plans to provide detailed information about the plans procedures for making investment directions as well as a breakdown of the fees charged by each available investment fund.

New Fee Disclosure Regulations: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know

September 9, 2011, 2:58 PM

The benefits community has been awaiting major changes to the rules governing disclosure of plan-related fees for several years, but it has taken some time for final regulations to take shape. The Department of Labor in 2010 issued provisional regulations that were originally scheduled to go into effect on July 16, 2011, but the compliance deadline was recently extended into the 2012 plan year. It is likely that additional changes to the proposed rules will be made prior to the effective date.

CIGNA Corp. v. Amara

July 15, 2011, 10:16 AM

On May 16, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision with implications for sponsors of employee benefit plans: CIGNA Corp. v. Amara. The opinion in this case clarifies the consequences that occur when a plans Summary Plan Description (SPD) conflicts with the terms of the underlying plan document by promising more generous benefits than are available under the plan.

Legislative Proposal Could Provide Relief for ESOPs and ESOP Valuators

June 27, 2011, 2:05 PM

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed a new regulation that could negatively impact sponsors of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). Under this proposed rule, valuation firms that provide appraisals of ESOP companies would be deemed to constitute fiduciaries for purposes of ERISA, a change which would increase the potential liability faced by valuation firm and would accordingly make it more difficult and costly for ESOP companies to obtain their required annual appraisal.

Early Withdrawals

June 21, 2011, 11:05 AM

A recent survey found that nearly 1 in 5 retirement plan participants has taken an early withdrawal from a retirement plan account within the past year in order to cover emergencies. Click here for the story.

Employee Benefit Document List

June 16, 2011, 4:21 PM

Employers are required to establish written documents setting forth certain terms relating to their employee benefit plans. Failure to maintain the proper documents in updated form can lead to penalties or other enforcement actions by the IRS, Department of Labor, or other regulatory agencies.

Introduction to the K&C Benefits Blog

June 6, 2011, 11:35 AM

Welcome to the Kaufman & Canoles Benefits Blog! The members of the Employee Benefits Practice Group plan to use this space to share items of interest to employer sponsors of benefit plans of all types, including retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.